Telecom Italia told attendees at last week’s ECTA conference in Monte Carlo that it expects to complete the upgrade of its national voice telephony network to internet protocol (IP) by the end of March 2004. The operator began the project six months ago, having selected Cisco and Italtel as infrastructure suppliers. At the time it set a target of migrating 80% of its voice traffic to the new IP network by the end of 2003, but has now decided to expedite proceedings after the successful rollout of services in several major Italian regions. It is currently working on migrating its ‘inter-regional’ voice traffic, which comprises around six to seven billion minutes of voice traffic per year, before moving onto the final phase of the plan – introducing direct IP telephony services to subscribers via the installation of compatible handsets and switching equipment. Telecom Italia said that it expects the network upgrade to cut its annual operational costs by up to two-thirds.